Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

December 2011 Archives

No joke, it's now official: British comedian Russell Brand is divorcing pop star and California "gurl" Katy Perry. Brand's lawyer filed for divorce this morning in Los Angeles, the UK's Daily Mail reports.

Expect some possible fireworks in court. The Russell Brand-Katy Perry divorce follows "a massive fight," Us Weekly reports. Katy Perry "was like 'F--- you. I'm going to do my own thing,'" a source tells the magazine.

It seems California girls really are "fierce," like Perry's song claims -- as in fiercely independent. While Perry, 27, was spotted in Hawaii over the Christmas holiday, husband Brand was seen tossing back some beers in a pub in the UK, he Daily Mail reports.

Perhaps tellingly, Brand was not wearing his wedding ring, the Mail reports.

Jay-Z's Problems Include $18,000 Court Order for Not Insuring his Cooks

Rapper Jay-Z has 99 problems, and workers' compensation insurance is one. Jay-Z's insurance woes have netted him a legal headache and an $18,000 order to pay by a New York court. Jay-Z's worker's compensation troubles started out mild.

Like any multimillionaire, Jay-Z employs individuals to help out around the house. He has a driver, cooks, and maids.

He is required by law to pay worker's compensation insurance for his household staff. The insurance lapsed because he failed to pay for three months in 2009.

Louis Vuitton's 'Hangover' Lawsuit: Warner Bros Sued Over Fake Bag

French fashion house Louis Vuitton has filed a Hangover lawsuit over a phony handbag. The brand has sued Warner Bros. over a scene where one of the characters from the hit movie misidentifies a fake Louis Vuitton for a real one.

Alan, played by Zach Galifianakis, utters the now-famous line: "Careful. That is a Louis Vuitton." Alan says this in reference to a faux LV-branded duffle.

Louis Vuitton has alleged trademark dilution, false designation of origin, and unfair competition.

Hugh Hefner's Puppy Custody Battle Heats Up

Hugh Hefner's puppy, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel named Charlie, is the subject of a hotly debated ownership battle. Hefner and ex-fiancée Crystal Harris are locked in a dog custody squabble.

Hefner, 85, and Harris, 25, both want the dog.

The Playboy mogul and Harris split shortly before they were due to wed. Hefner insists he "missed a bullet" by not going through with the nuptials.

Rapper Freddie Gibbs has gone public with a personal habit and a personalized note from a federal baggage inspector. Gibbs claims a TSA agent found pot in his checked luggage and scribbled two words on an inspection notice: "C'mon son."

Gibbs, also known as Gangsta Gibbs, got such a chuckle from the note that he told his fans via Twitter: "The TSA found my weed and let me keep it. They just left me a note. 'C'mon Son'. Lol."

Freddie Gibbs' tweet included a photo of the alleged note, along with two baggies of alleged contraband, the New York Daily News reports. Gibbs had just taken a flight from Los Angeles to Denver.

Jennifer Lopez Custody Battle with Marc Anthony Getting 'Vicious'?

Guess what may be brewing between ex-couple Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony: a custody battle that may turn "vicious," according to sources. Jennifer Lopez has custody of the couple's two 3-year-old twins according to their initial agreement.

It's an agreement that Anthony may soon try to contest. He might seek joint custody.

Turns out, Anthony's a little peeved. He doesn't like the company that Lopez has been keeping. Specifically, he's reportedly not too happy about Lopez's new boyfriend, 24-year-old backup dancer Casper Smart.

The Penn State/Jerry Sandusky sex scandal has led to another arrest -- this time, for DUI. Jay Gray, an NBC News national correspondent covering the scandal, was arrested for drunken driving after apparently boozing it up with Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola.

Who is Jay Gray? He primarily works for NBC's affiliate news service, reporting for hundreds of NBC stations nationwide. With nearly two decades of experience, Gray is often recruited to report for NBC's Division I newscasts, "Today" and "Nightly News."

Covering the Sandusky scandal is a big deal, with dozens of famous news personalities vying for exclusive interviews with major players in the case.

That includes Jerry Sandusky's lawyer Joe Amendola, who invited reporters to a booze-fueled football party Dec. 11, celebrity gossip site TMZ.com reports.

FindLaw's Top 10 Celebrity Stories of 2011

This year was quite an epic year for Hollywood. Some of the top celebrity stories featured reality stars, veteran actors, and troubled starlets. What do all of the biggest celebrity stories of 2011 have in common? Drama.

It seems that when celebrities aren't in the movie or recording studio, they're busy getting into fights, filing lawsuits, and just plain acting crazy.

And, let's face it. That's why we love celebrities and stars in the first place. They wouldn't be famous if all they did was act boring. Here's a rundown of some of the most scintillating star-studded stories of this year:

Rap artist Young Buck has come up a few bucks short once again. Young Buck's bankruptcy has been changed to Chapter 7, and he's blaming his former mentor 50 Cent.

Young Buck had already filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was working with a trustee to get back on his feet, The Wall Street Journal reports. The trustee wanted to modify Young Buck's contract with 50 Cent's recording company, and use the added revenue to pay down the rapper's debts.

But 50 Cent and his company, G-Unit Records, rejected Young Buck's bankruptcy plan. That left Young Buck with no choice but to file under Chapter 7, his trustee said in a court filing. A bankruptcy judge in Nashville, Tenn., approved the switch this week.

What's the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 11? One word: liquidation.

NYU Professor Fired for Giving James Franco a 'D,' Lawsuit Claims

Countless news outlets are reporting on Jose Angel Santana, a New York University professor allegedly fired for giving James Franco a bad grade.

While the grade may have played a part in the firing, there's a lot more to the story. A read-through of the complaint depicts a nasty picture of NYU's graduate film department.

Santana believes he was fired because of his race.

Deion Sanders' Announces Divorce on Facebook: Owes Wife $10M Home

Former Dallas Cowboys star Deion Sanders' divorce was announced in a very public way: on his Facebook page. Sanders wrote to his fans and followers that he's ending his marriage to his wife Pilar Sanders.

He also wrote that neither he nor his wife would further discuss the divorce.

But there is the matter of his wife being entitled to a $10 million home.

Toxic Mold Killed Brittany Murphy, Actress' Mom Sues Ex-Attorneys

Did toxic mold kill Brittany Murphy? Her mother thinks so, which is why she's now suing the attorneys that represented Brittany in a suit against the builders of the home in which she died.

Sharon Murphy claims they should have told her about a possible wrongful death suit when the lawsuit settled in January 2011. The law firm of Steiner & Libo also "should have known that Brittany and Simon had died [as] the result of complications associated with the [home]."

Recall that Brittany Murphy and her husband died within months of one another -- both of pneumonia.

A botched business venture is backfiring for a voluptuous "Jersey Shore" guidette. Nicole Polizzi, better known as Snooki, sued a group of business partners in October, and now those partners are fighting back in court.

A countersuit by SRG Ventures seeks $7 million in damages against Snooki. SRG claims Snooki sabotaged her own business opportunities by courting other companies and messing up merchandising deals, the New York Post reports.

What did those deals include? Here are just a few products the world will probably never get to see, according to the Snooki lawsuit:

The Top 5 Celebrity Divorces of 2011

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes ... a high-profile, multi-million dollar divorce? Celebrities get married all the time. They also split up just as often. This year was no different -- there was no shortage of big celebrity divorce stories in 2011.

What makes each of these divorce stories so "big"? Some were simply dramatic. Others were just expensive. Below, we've rounded out the top 5 biggest celeb breakups of this year.

Teen Mom' Amber Portwood Back in Jail for Probation Violation

Former MTV reality show star Amber Portwood's probation violation has landed her back in jail. The ex-Teen Mom may face a jail sentence of up to two years - it's up to the judge to decide at this point.

The now 21-year-old mother has faced mounting legal woes. She came under scrutiny when she was shown beating up former fiancé Gary Shirley on TV.

She later pled guilty to the assault and was sentenced to probation in June 2011.

Basketball Wives Intel Led Kobe's Wife to File for Divorce?

Vanessa Bryant has filed for divorce from her NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. Kobe's wife cited "irreconcilable differences" as the main reason for the split.

The bad news for Kobe? There wasn't a prenup, sources told the Los Angeles Times. Vanessa Bryant may be getting a large chunk of Kobe's assets.

Could she still be getting the raw end of the deal, though? It's rumored that Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce after she became fed up with Kobe's philandering ways.

Courtney Love Being Evicted for Ruining Décor, Setting NYC Apt Fire

Guess which star is getting no love from her landlord? Courtney Love is being evicted out of her West Village home in New York . Owner Donna Lyon says that Love set the $27,000-a-month apartment on fire and damaged its interior.

The apartment was decorated by its previous tenant, interior designer Steven Gambrel. A condition of the lease read that the future tenant would not do anything to the inside of the apartment, reports the New York Post.

Maybe Love forgot to read the contract.

She apparently altered parts of the property without Lyon's consent. Gambrel's original design featured hand-painted and glazed walls, which Love apparently covered in damask wallpaper and ice-blue paint.

Rapper Flo Rida Avoids Jail Over Bugatti DUI Arrest

Rapper Flo Rida's DUI arrest won't be netting him any jail time. Flo Rida was busted in his 2008 Bugatti earlier this year in Miami Beach when he was spotted driving erratically.

After police stopped his car, Flo Rida apparently felt the need to confess. He told officers he had a few drinks and couldn't walk a straight line as part of the field sobriety test. He was also driving with a suspended license.

How is it that he's going to get off without spending any time behind bars?

James Cameron Sued Over 'Avatar' Script: Was Ex-Employee's Idea

James Cameron has been sued by a former employee over his blockbuster sci-fi film Avatar. The lawsuit, filed by Eric Ryder, alleges that Cameron's company Lightstorm Entertainment pilfered the story from him.

This isn't the first time that Cameron and his crew faced scrutiny over the film's origins. Internet users even derided the film as simply being Disney's Pocahontas in space. If you analyze the two films' plots, Avatar does seem a little reminiscent of the classic animated movie.

This is, however, the first suit filed against Cameron by a former employee according to The Hollywood Reporter. What exactly does Ryder allege in his legal filing?

The long-awaited new 50 Cent mixtape is out, and it's a huge hit -- but not for relatives of a murder victim referenced in the album's opening song.

The song in question is called "Body On It," about a double homicide in Queens, N.Y., where 50 Cent grew up. A man shot and killed his girlfriend's son Dec. 2, then boarded the Q111 bus and opened fire at strangers, the New York Daily News reports.

Bus passenger Marvin Gilkes, a former police detective from Trinidad who moved to Queens two years ago, was shot in the back of his head and killed. The accused gunman is being held without bail.

The incident gets major play on the new 50 Cent mixtape. "Body On It" opens with news reports about Gilkes' shooting, then launches into a rap, New York's WABC-TV reports.

Hulk Hogan Sues Ex-Wife for Defamation Over Brutus Beefcake Claims

Former wrestler Hulk Hogan has sued his ex-wife Linda Bollea for defamation.

No, she didn't poke fun at his famous mustache or hairline. And it's not like she publicly stated that pro-wrestling isn't real.

Bollea writes, in her new book "Wrestling the Hulk -- My Life Against the Ropes," Bollea details some "intimate" moments in her marriage. She accuses Hogan of abuse. She also gave interviews where she hinted that the ex-wrestler had homosexual encounters during their marriage.

Jermaine Dupri's Lamborghini Lawsuit: Sued for Not Paying Car Payment

Rapper and producer Jermaine Dupri's Lamborghini is causing the star a whole lot of trouble. Premier Financial Services, the company that loaned him the money to purchase the exotic ride, has sued Dupri.

The car was worth around $330,000 when it was purchased new in 2006. Dupri originally used a finance plan but stopped making payments in 2009.

Dupri has been in the public spotlight for both his personal and private life. He famously collaborated with Mariah Carey and dated Janet Jackson. Yet perhaps even he couldn't scrape enough cash together for the luxury vehicle's $4,323 monthly payments.

Terrence Howard Accused of Domestic Abuse, Court Grants Restraining Order

Michelle Howard says that her husband, Iron Man actor Terrence Howard, abused her. She has secured a temporary restraining order against her estranged husband.

Howard will be forbidden to contact his wife, and cannot go within 100 yards of her until their next court hearing on January 17, 2012.

Michelle Howard says that her husband threatened to kill her. Howard says that his wife has been trying to get him to pay her money by threatening to release "private materials" (whatever that is) if he doesn't.

Funnyman and frequent flyer Alec Baldwin was kicked off a plane for playing the "Words With Friends" game on his cell phone. Now American Airlines is fighting back on Facebook.

The "30 Rock" star was seated in first-class on a flight from Los Angeles to New York on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. The flight crew kicked Baldwin off the plane while it was still parked at the gate. Alec Baldwin is not facing charges, but a battle has ensued on Twitter and Facebook.

Country superstar Mindy McCready's child custody battle is headed back to court today -- another chapter in a long dispute with her mother over McCready's 5-year-old son.

Police found McCready, 36 and pregnant with twins, hiding in a closet with her son at her boyfriend's home in Arkansas Friday night, ABC News reports. The boy was placed in foster care.

Today's court hearing in Arkansas will determine whether the child should be returned to his legal guardian, McCready's mother.

Mindy McCready lost child custody of her son in 2007 after Florida child welfare agents claimed she had a drug problem, the Naples Daily News reported. They also felt the boy was undernourished in McCready's care.

Kris Humphries Wants to Void Kardashian Prenup

Ah. The Kardashian prenup. It seems to be a hot topic of contention these days. Were you aware that Kim must buy her 20.5 carat diamond from Kris Humphries in the case of divorce? And that the document prevents both parties from revealing those intimate details you so want to know?

That confidentiality clause is reportedly why Kris wants the prenup dismissed. In addition to requesting an annulment, Radar Online is reporting that he is seeking to have the Kardashian prenup declared null and void.

He apparently wants to discuss the disastrous relationship with the press.

Jesse Eisenberg Sues Over 'Camp Hell' DVD

Jesse Eisenberg has your back.

Or so it would seem. Despite only having about 5 minutes of screen time, the Oscar-nominated actor appears solo on the cover of the DVD release of 2010's Camp Hell. Ticked off that the studios are misleading fans and capitalizing on his newfound fame, Eisenberg has filed a lawsuit against Lionsgate and Grindstone Entertainment.

He's asking for $3 million--more than it cost to make the movie.